MLS: Rongen Named Coach of D.C. United

D.C. United has named former Tampa Bay and New England coach Thomas Rongen as its new head coach. The former NASL player replaces Bruce Arena, who is now the U.S. national team coach. "The search for a replacement for Bruce has been a difficult one," said D.C. United GM Kevin Payne, who interviewed a number of candidates for the position. "Ultimately, I had to trust my initial instinct that a coach with roots in the American game would best be suited to D.C. United." Rongen, 42, has been a part of the U.S. soccer scene for 20 years as both a player (with Los Angeles, Washington and Ft. Lauderdale of the NASL as well as the ASL and APSL editions of the Strikers) and a coach (Ft. Lauderdale and Nova Southeastern). He was the 1996 MLS Coach of the Year with the Tampa Bay Mutiny, leading the club to a 20-12 record and the Eastern Conference regular season title. He then moved on to New England, where the Revolution went 15-17 (making its only playoff appearance) in 1997 and 8-18 this season before his release on Aug. 22. He also assisted the U.S. national team at France '98. "I've known Thomas Rongen for almost 10 years and have enormous respect for him," said Payne. "After looking at resumes from approximately 100 candidates, and speaking personally with more than a dozen of them, I came to the conclusion Thomas Rongen is the best man to lead D.C. United through this transition." Arena's final match as coach of the team will be the second leg of the Interamerican Cup, Dec. 5 in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.
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